President’s Blog

Ego- corporations vs. eco-activism, which do you stand for?

As many of you know, I’ve been working on a film for the last few years as a sequel to CONFESSIONS OF AN ECO-TERRORIST, a passion-project I started that became a major part of my life and a movie that has been seen by millions of people all over the world. The original film did well to re-direct dialogue about the “T” word being thrown around at eco-activists; like sexual misconduct accusations are today.  Hey, I was known as the eco-monk, so I have absolutely no issues there… Thank God. 

Now for the subject at hand: I’ve been involved with ocean conservation since I was a child on Cape Cod. After I moved to California as a TV Producer, I found myself lucky enough to hook up with Paul Watson, Al Johnson, and Bob Hunter… all early eco-activists. This was 1981.  As a Producer for the number one rated NBC television program “Real People”, I was a perfect fit to cover the activities of a small group of very special activists hoping to save the oceans. Lucky us… we were there for the birth of the modern media world.

Paul Watson had recently left Greenpeace under some minor rule violation… some say thrown out by a lawyer scared of his activism. He claims the lawyer said: “You obviously do not know what Greenpeace is all about!” He formed Sea Shepherd to be able to stay active and not only continue his mission, but make it more powerful, efficient and effective. This is his claim, and I believe him.  Let’s face it; lawyers are like bad parents just there to tell you why not to do things, and why to abide by a bunch of stupid rules.  I know, I know… they keep you out of trouble, but we were out to change the world…and so we did, and continue to do so.

I was told Sea Shepherd’s Rule #1 was no lawyers on the board of directors. The second rule that won me over was: you had to have gone on a campaign to be eligible to be a director. My “active” political participation was ignored by my boss, George Schlatter, a TV and film legend, but also an unknown eco-hero… He broadcast the first major “hero” piece on the Sea Shepherd Conversation Society (SSCS) in the early 1980s. Big deal you say? Back then 40-50 million people watched every week. George broadcast stories I did on Paul twice, and brought him on-air live both times. This was a big deal. A huge deal!

 I actually got busted covering Paul in Japan in 1981 for George. This is a story for another day, but I became hooked on what we could accomplish. It was very clear to me on how useful my services could be for the growing cause of conservation.  I was very heavily involved in many of the early campaigns, and handled all media with a photographer named Mark Gaede back in the day. Gaede bought the first flag and T-shirts and the rest is history. After what seemed like a blip in time, because of our tactics, the camera, and television broadcasts worldwide, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society became known all over the globe, as a major force, fighting for the good of the planet.

I resigned from the Board of Directors in 1992 along with directors Sue Rodrigues-Pasture and Myra Finklestein when the good Captain wanted to pay his then girl-friend Lisa De Stephano. None of us but Paul could see Lisa’s talents, and to pay her…  for what services? I look back at this day to my never being “all in” again.  This directors’ meeting was held at Nat’s café in Santa Monica California.  Sea Shepherd was an all-volunteer organization at that time. Now I understand basic pay for services, but I also believe the fight cannot be taken to the enemy without real volunteer activists.  At the time offices like SSCS maintain today were for Greenpeace.

I spent the next years on my mission to save the oceans… sometimes with SSCS, sometimes not.  I often say in my talks that I’ve been thrown out of the Sea Shepherd organization 4 times… until I resigned officially this summer. Through the years, I continued to help Paul with campaigns I thought important.  My position with the Society has been spotty, but Paul was like a brother, godfather to my children and visa versa…. Looking back, a kind of shitty brother… as he never once stuck up for me against any number of tactical, and/or money disputes with any number of ex-wives and girl friends…and so on and so forth.

How could I take it for so many years, you might ask? 

Well I think if you research my history in the eco-movement, you’ll find me animal and eco-issue-oriented. I could give a damn about the politics of this group or that. I called a spade a spade and tried to win for the oceans. I do this today.  When I was recently removed as captain, and replaced as campaign leader on the 2017 Virus Hunter Campaign for being too aggressive and uncompromising… really… I have the email! I travelled to British Columbia and did my own thing. Today I am involved in the Skeena River management on behalf of the Gitxsan people as they fight for total territorial sovereignty.

I feel it is everyone’s duty to do what they feel is important. I’ve been involved in the “salmon issue” longer then SSCS and 100% support their actions, assisting Dr. Alex Morton.  I think Alex and the First Nations warriors should get everyone’s support (www.alexandramorton.ca)

These actions will continue and I hope SSCS will continue to support Dr.Morton’s efforts to get salmon farms out of BC. I will continue to work toward that end with the resources at hand.

For the last few years I was lucky enough to become associated with legendary Conservationist Doug Tompkins. Doug’s untimely death has set me on my own path. Doug will still be remembered in one thousand years time long after little pirates like Peter Brown and Paul Watson are forgotten.  http://www.tompkinsconservaion.org

Doug felt that some times to progress as humans, we must do a 360 degree turn and look back to the future… The future of sustainable local food and resources… 

My new film looks at this very subject. Does more money and progress win out when we become them, and allow corporate branding to squash the very innovative approach that got us this far?  My 30 year involvement in the “Branding fight” between Paul Watson and Greenpeace taught me one thing: 

BRANDING KILLS WILDLIFE , while enriching individual entrepreneurs, and allowing populations to be brainwashed by controlling media and press. 

This is straight out of the book of FASCISM 101…. Hitler did it best, and where did that leave the world? 

I was brought up to QUESTION AUTHORITY… I suggest the time is now. Today eco-groups living inside their little social media bubbles are becoming ego-groups. Supporters need to ask what is really getting done?

I am continuing to develop a project I started with Doug, GAIANetwork.net . It is a step back to throw support to the grassroots organizations.

Perhaps the Greenpeace way of doing nothing and depending on the “feel good” money factor to let them continue to bitch… maybe Sea Shepherd’s new approach of signing on with, in my opinion, dubious third world governments to attempt projects the governments aren’t willing to do themselves; if this is your thing. 

Go for it! I will take a different path.

President Eisenhower when he retired and warned America: “beware the industrial military complex”, America should have listened.  As an ocean activist continuing a life long cause I say to all: “beware the corporatization of activism”.

I have fought hard to keep the visual history of the eco movement free to all to use and peruse. If Sea Shepherd or any other eco-corporation tries to control “the story” beware. If you want the public to believe and follow, then turn on the cameras and let your actions speak for themselves. Good actions, good press. Forget the exclusivity and let those who made history tell it.  CONFESSIONS II: “we have met the enemy…” addresses just this. I think the discussion will lead to others see the light and continue the fight where it does most good. 

I guess what I want to say as the year comes to an end and you are looking for solid eco-donations… look local. Projects and small groups close to your home.  If you want the T-shirt and all the PR material from coffee cups to beer coolers, I can’t save you… but if the group has a larger “e-commerce” then “operations page … then I advise that you are spending more on salaries then results.  Look for and promote results. I’ve been promoting Orca Protection & Rescu, but there are good groups and individuals out there if you look. You might not get the cool T-shirt as seen on TV, but you’ll get the results.

For Wild Oceans!

This week a year ago my worst nightmares all came true as The Sea Shepherd Society sued me to stop release of my new film. They now claimed exclusivity on the film library I only recently donated to SSCS.  I have had to hire a lawyer to get the rights back to my footage so I can use it to tell the real story and express opinions of any, and all involved… unbelievable! Sea Shepherd was acting with some sort of cult mentality. Their actions have turned off many original activists and all who question the emperor get canned, or so it seems.  

Today I can say that we settled and the film will be released! A great big never mind… Never mind?? Really? 

If you have opinions and want to keep involved, join us. We won’t pay you, but your passions will be acknowledged and supported. Although Mr. Watson appears to be trying to secure a legacy he really doesn’t fully deserve, I hope his present supporters who believe the myth will take a few minutes to look at their financials and decide for yourselves. They , too, are welcome.

As the 60 foot super Sea Shepherd yacht “ALCHEMY” sails south for the winter, The gaianetwork.net boat the Wii Seeks remains in Friday Harbor to start working to protect the Southern Resident Orcas come spring. Every dollar we raise will be spent on enforcement.

The fate of the planet and all who live on it is up to you and me; to all of us. Whatever your talent is, utilize it – as everyone is unique and your personal abilities and passions put to good use is what makes a positive difference.

Keep on fighting the good fight. 

August 9th Update

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We are still in Port Hardy as the ferry I was planning to take broke down so I will go up to Prince Rupert tomorrow to visit my old friend and activist Gordon Sebastian. Gordon and I sailed against the Columbus celebration ships in 1991, and hopefully meet others who came with him. Wii Seeks was a leader of the group and our boat is proudly named in his honor…a great man and true activist. If you are interested in the story, read Bob Hunter’s book: “Red Blood”.

Yesterday another old friend showed up in for medical treatment from his lighthouse station up north. Paul Whalen just showed up, and he is the best. It was great seeing him again and he hooked us up with others who can certainly help. As all our stops and delays on this adventure have opened up opportunities unimagined. It is interesting how things, even screw-ups, work out for the best if you have the right attitude.

While I’m gone for a few days, Frances, the mate, will stay with the boat and take a deserved break, I hope.

Frances Buchanan is by far the hardest working person I have ever met. She came to me recommended by Scott West and what a find. She is “old” Sea Shepherd and I am proud to be able to sail with her. Young people like Frances give me hope for the future. She is dedicated to the cause like no one’s business and she is not afraid. About I’d guess a hundred pounds soaking wet, she has the backbone of a tiger and heart of a lion. We all could learn from her. I have to admit that my trying to keep up has worn this old man out. For those with doubt about the future, look to humans like Frances to carry the torch. There are others in my past who were great, but this is now, and Frances is out there doing what is necessary for us all to survive.

So the rest of you need to get off the couch and do something… anything positive to help. It is your future after all, make it count. Frances will be thereto set an example. I am sure.

 

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Sullivan Bay

Aug 6th

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We’ve spent the last few days on a salmon farm tour of the Queen Charlotte Straits, British Columbia, Canada. This wilderness teems with eagles, bear, whales, rare seabirds, and wild salmon… well that is now, the future is still in doubt. The last two days we have visited a dozen farms and or proposed farm sites in a very small geographical area… the boat only goes 8 knots so we are not speeding around by any means.

These farms have colorful names like Midsummer Farm, Arrow Pass, Upper Retreat, Blunder Pass, Potts Bay, Glacier Falls, and even a couple called Cecil and Maude. Actually the last two were my favorite. Cecil was empty with abandoned pens and buildings, and Maude was gone, hopefully forever.

Now where they went, and why they were closed is research for another day, but I have my suspicions that once these corporations pollute and contaminate one cove, they move on to another. We also visited two “proposed sites” perhaps getting to view them the last time in their natural state.

Another coincidence appears to be that the marinas and local tie-ups where we stayed the night were all once famous and well known to salmon fishermen. They too have quaint names like Alert Bay, Echo Bay, and Sullivan Bay, but the fisherman are no longer catching fish. As we sit and watch the sun set around communal tables you hear the stories of old. The great catches that all fishermen brag about, but today they all end with: “well I got nothing today”.

At Pierre’s marina where you could once catch 100 pound salmon off the fuel dock; now there is nothing. Today, Pierre has a well-known pig roast each Saturday night to attract the yachting crowd. One has to think back to when the main dish must have been salmon, wild salmon.

Have we humans come to the point that we are just accepting the death of wilderness, or have we just lost the courage to face the unknown?

The crew of Gaianetwork.net are not afraid of the wild. We cherish it, and I relish the fact that nature is in control, not me. We believe that these open pen salmon farms should go, not only for the health and pollution reasons, but for downright primal reasons. Who are we as a species? Must we control and dominate everything, or can we revert back to our ancestors’ way of thinking to become more in tune with nature. Primitive tribes are in touch with their environments; they need to be to survive. Most humans today are not, and we as a species are not better off for it.

A great conservationist Doug Tompkins once explained it like this: if you are walking a path and come to a cliff, do you precede forward to your death, or is the prudent thing to do to take a 180 degree turn and continue forward… just in the opposite direction. Modern thought seems to say step forward no matter what, but I’ll listen to Doug. Progress is not just forward, and we as a species should beware.

It is a question all of us must answer now, or we will pass the problem down the road to our children and grand children. I will make the stand today and hope others will join me.

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Echo Bay

Aug 3,2018

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Spending the night in Echo Bay a beautiful and idyllic harbor and home to Billy Proctor’s museum. Billy and Dr. Morton wrote a book about their experiences in the Broughton Archipelago. I would highly recommend the read.

Today we left Sointula as the local salmon fleet was arriving back home and the place was planning to be fully booked. We enjoyed our stay and got first class boat work done by the Tarkanen Boat yard. The people were talented and experienced.

We left early and first took a look at Swanson Island, a location where a group of First Nations individuals led by Ernest Alfred . After a number of close pass bys and photography the farmers got boats in the water to investigate. I was hoping they would come close so we could have conversations, but they stayed off and watched.

The next stop was Midsummer Farm, also owned by Marine Harvest a huge Norwegian corporation, and one of the five major corporations that own farms around the world. I investigated the companies past efforts in Norway and Chile. I was certainly not impressed by their attitude toward nature. Norway presently has killed off most of their wild stock, and Chile had no stock to begin with, so they are just polluting fiords, and estuaries. In Chile I witnessed Fiords quarantined because of the ISA virus.still loaded with farms. The Chilean salmon farms take most of the local wild catch, thus leaving the local people with little fish to eat. For those who believe that salmon farms feed the “people” and are this good… the people they feed are the rich who frequent sushi bars in places like Ohio. So let’s get over that.

At Midsummer farm we picked up a tail. Now I heard that some high priced security firm had been hired to protect the farms and that I should beware. First, I’m doing nothing wrong, and second the only security in the world that I might fear are Afghan security, and when last I checked, they work with me.

Anyhow they were really clever security and followed at a distance looking like a fishing boat. When I did a “crazy Ivan” and took a trip around an island in Blunden Pass… they appeared speeding around the other side probably wondering what the hell happened to me… busted. Frances got good pictures as they sped by and left for the day.

My feeling about security and tails is they just say a company has something to hide and all the more reason to look. Well that’s what we are here for, so we’ll keep watching, and visual media, and truth are what makes a difference today.

Tomorrow we will be off to new adventures.

As a side note we have had 100% support from the people of Canada against these farms. Maybe it is time these people vote in a new government. We in the states are attempting the same, but that is another story altogether.

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Sointula BC, Canada

July 29, 2018

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The Wii Seeks was pulled out of the water to day to fix a stuffing box issue. While travelling north we started having a problem so turned around to get it looked at professionally. The trip north of Port Hardy is sometimes a wilderness adventure and one doesn’t want to begin with all systems go… I was recently contacted by Paul Whalen an old friend who is lighthouse keeper off Caution Point, a safe harbor offered if need be. Thank you Paul.

We pulled into Sointula by chance and, I have to say this island is one of the very sane human civilizations I’ve come across in a long time. The town, founded by the Finnish settlers in search of a more equal society moved here. Their town motto is equality and co-operation for all and they seen to live it. Everyone I have met, including a lady fisherwoman who recognized me as “sea shepherd” and said: “she wanted nothing to do with what I was selling…

Well I am definitely NOT Sea Shepherd, and it seems I should make up a T-Shirt! Anyhow after explaining things, we started talking salmon farms. She’s definitely opposed to them and has even caught pregnant escaped farmed females in her catches…. I would assume to biologists and others, that this would be concerning?
What sort of new predator have we let loose on coastal eco-systems? Another myth busted that these Franken-fish will not reproduce.

You have to understand that the salmon farmed here and elsewhere are Atlantic Salmon, not indigenous to the area at all. You see Pacific Salmon are obviously smarter and “don’t farm well”. Whether this means that they don’t like swimming circles in their own poop, or just have bad attitudes toward confinement; I don’t know. It is strange that you can’t bring a non-indigenous seed into Canada, but I guess millions of foreign fish are cool as long as money is to be made. Once again human greed wins out.

These fishermen and women, along with the indigenous people get it, why shouldn’t the rest of us. I realize it is government, by nature, that never listens to those individuals who, by experience and basic knowledge know what is going on. They would rather listen to regulation led bureaucrats and book taught scientists who might never have left the Ivory towers where they normally reside. We need good science to make decisions, but sometimes debate lasts longer then the species one is trying to save. My suggestion is to slow down. Playing god has never worked out well for humans. I can name numerous examples… start by asking Australians about Cane Toads.

Anyhow just now a gentleman came by to question me on whether I had any solutions or was I just protesting… My reply was we can only do so much, but the first solution is to get rid of the farms. This will not bring back wild salmon, but it will be a start. The next are forestry practices which we humans have been attempting to address. The next is run off which we all have a part in, and my biggest beef locally is the city of Victoria still dumping raw sewage daily in the local waters. We have heard of the tons of the prescription drugs, and other pollutants that are beginning to show up in everyone’s system. Yes, I told the gentleman, there are lots of issues but we at gaianetwork want the farms gone. Let the larger organizations step in with solutions.

The GMO issue is still undecided by corporations and scientists, but logic tells me to beware. The first tests show rats fed GMO corn form non-malignant tumors, and these farmed fish are covered in tumors. One doesn’t need to be a scientist to make that connection. Go to Dr. Alex Morton’s website to see the viruses and pollutants found in fish sampled in the past. Make up your own mind.

I am not one to dwell on the negative, and towns like Sointula give me hope of what societies can be like through co-operation, common sense, and respect for others. We all share the same planet; let’s all take positive steps to make the world a better place for all. The time for talk is over. Get off your couch and make a difference, I have and you can too.

-Peter

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Alert Bay – Save the Wild Salmon

 

July 26th Alert Bay

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We are presently at anchor at a harbor called Alert Bay BC. Today will be a bit of a late start as the fog this morning is so thick you can’t see more then a few hundred yards… Radar is useful, but we’ll wait a few hours to depart. We have an appointment with First Nations friends in Prince Rupert in a few days, and then we will do what we came up here to do.

And what is that you might ask? We intend to help First Nations, the orca, bear, eagles, and oceans stay wild by getting open pen salmon farms banned from Canada. Other then feeding the rich in sushi bars, there is nothing good I can say about the open pen farms.

Much like the cigarette companies did in the 40s when they gave servicemen free smokes, and thus hooking a whole generation on a substance the companies knew was bad. I propose that the large farming companies are doing the same thing now. Cheap food, made sexy by giant corporations who know all about the pesticides, antibiotics, and not to mention GMO fish being fed GMO food. Does anyone care about public health? In Europe, the initial testing on what GMO food is doing to the public are just starting to come out. You can look them up, but the initial tests are not good… non-malignant tumors in rats fed GMO corn.

I am sure the companies will refute these results and hire scientists of their own, but take a look at pictures of the farmed fish. You decide what to think? I tell people instead of eating farmed salmon, eat the wrapper it’s wrapped in as it might in fact be better for you. Give it up now before it is too late.

After the escape of millions of non-indigenous franken-fish in Washington State, licenses will no longer be issued, and for now, fish farming will be out of the San Juan Islands. I hope for good. I am sorry it took a huge eco disaster to get the public’s attention, but way to go Washington!

Canada should be the next country to put health of their eco-systems ahead of commercial interests. Remember, money is nice, but in the end when the oceans are gone, we can’t eat money.

I believe because of the political situation in Canada, this year might be it for the farms in Canada also. Dr. Alex Morton continues her fight on the Sea Shepherd yacht Martin Sheen, and Gaianetwork will take the M/V WII SEEKS wherever local activists suggest. I am only too sorry that Sea Shepherd continues to sue me for speaking out against them, and this ego squabble hurts both our efforts to fight for the oceans. Petty corporate squabbles like that between Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd have hindered eco-efforts for 40 years. In the past I have spoken out about that also.

Once again, in this hour of need for the oceans it is a shame that eco-corporations need to put money and ego over the environment. It is time we all co-operate no matter our differences.

We have offered our help to all, and will continue to do so in the future. Let the public and history decide.

Although I have had some well publicized legal issues to deal with, I will not let shortsighted individuals stop me from doing what is right. I cannot just sit back and talk about the issues like many pundents, other individuals agree have stepped up to help. I have found able… more then able crew in activist Frances Buchanan to help on board. Elora West, Scott West, Dr Valencic , Dave Howitt, Dr. Myra Finkelstein, Peter Wallerstein, Lisa D., and even Rod Coronado have helped. Grass roots support is across the board especially from those on whose shoulders’ the Sea Shepherd reputation was built.

Next week we will be meeting with Gordon Sebastian and the First Nations activists with whom I worked with in 1991. Grass roots support is growing daily.

It is time for full participation of everyone who cares for the oceans to make a stand. Do your part and spread the word. Ask where fish is caught and make sensible food choices. Corporations, even bad ones need your money to survive. All positive action helps, especially if we can get the general public active. Start with yourself and your passion will spread to others. Light a fire for wild oceans!

Join us and make a difference. All donations to Gaianetwork.net go directly to the campaign.

Salmon Campaign Donation

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It always takes longer than you think it will!

It is amazing that as one grows older it becomes more and more evident that our grandmothers were right on so many fronts. The older I become, the more I realize “old wives’ tales, more often than not,  ring true. Funny how that is.

This week we are having small victories on many fronts. Here in Friday Harbor our Neighborhood Orca Watch project is being set up and tested. Although way under-funded, a young student Christian Triana , and other locals have volunteered their time and efforts to get it together. Mike of Mike’s Café & Wine bar is, as always, there for the orcas. We will keep plugging away, and hope to gain volunteers aswe make it happen. We have run our tests and are presently seeking “observation” locations.

The citizens of Lopez Island have worked hard to get a protection bubble around the Southern Resident Orcas on the ballot. To date, they have succeeded against numerous obstacles. Although a lawsuit has even been filed to halt their efforts, I believe in democracy, and hope the good citizens of the San Juan Islands will soon be allowed to speak their minds and protect all local residents. VOTE… what an alien concept.

The Pacific Whale Watch Association appears to continue to survive and thrive although the Southern Residents have been scarce to date. I have not seen the southern residents this summer, but it is rumored that they returned in better shape than when they left. It won’t benefit the San Juans, but I hope these creatures have found a more calm environment to live, and more peaceful areas to forage. They deserve better neighbors… a lesson to all.

The tourists continue to crowd the Island to enjoy nature in all her wonderous glory. It is my  hope they leave with a new appreciation of the wild.  The plight of the Southern Resident Orcas; our fellow planetary citizens have energized so many things in so many ways. This is all good.

I will even give kudus to Lockey Maclean and Pamela Anderson for their efforts to end Salmon Farming in BC. They are both with the Sea Shepherd Society and it is my understanding that the M/V Martin Sheen is showing the flag in support of First Nation’s activism. I am pleased to see they were working with Jared Dick and Roger Dunlap. Both of these gentlemen are on the correct side fighting for the rights of the First Nations and wild salmon. Good on you all.

Even though our good President guts the EPA and other government regulatory organizations… maybe it is time for a citizen epiphany? Maybe it is time to finally figure out that we cannot rely on government to protect our well-being. I know it is governments that regulate our finances, the whole smoke and mirror charade that is the stock market… My question is : can we trust anyone who runs a trillion dollar deficit budget? How anyone can survive running that kind of debt is quite frankly beyond me… I will stick to protecting the oceans. That I understand.

I am asking others to join the mission for wild oceans if wild oceans are important to you. All great movements in history are led by individuals, and when last I looked we are all individuals. Each of us brings our own skills, passions, and talents to the table. Together we make families, clans, tribes, and nations. It is easy to look to others to lead, but we must now more than ever look to ourselves. Each one of us can and must make a difference.

Presently our bitching and basic neglect of what is important is getting us nowhere. Step up and speak up. Be it for humanity, the salmon, or the whales; step up. Now is the time to make a difference. While Mr. Trump manipulates the present day media, why not turn off the TV and look at what is really happening. Are your jobs more secure? How important is nature to my kids? Is the government really watching out for you? Is our consumer society making you happy? Do you really want to eat farmed salmon? Do I need everything wrapped in plastic? These are questions for each and every one of us, each and every day.

I don’t really care how you answer. What I do care about is our environment. OUR environment! I emphasize the word “our” because we need to own it, and take care of it.

Together we can make a huge difference.

Peter Jay Brown

http://www.gaianetwork.net

Keep it simple STUPID!

As orca protection gets debated and thrown around Friday Harbor, the orcas are still suffering.

It is my suggestion that we all stop throwing out excuses and reasons why it is someone else’s problem as the Southern Residents slowly disappear. Oh I am sure that everyone will blame someone else when they are gone, why not take another track?

The Lopez group have accumulated enough signatures to put their orca protection initiative on the November ballot despite litigation being leveled against them to stop. I am not a lawyer, and I don’t even pretend to be one, but what is up with a lawsuit to prevent residents from voting? When I last looked the San Juans were American, so let the residents decide through the ballot box without fear of ending up in court. Our American legal system is such that anyone can file a lawsuit for any reason they want. A large group or corporation with unlimited funds can tie up individuals forever. It costs thousands of dollars to defend yourself, even when you are right. In this case no matter the money spent on either side, it is the whales who will ultimately pay.

The governor’s task force and the recent moves by Canada support giving the orcas a break, but with business interests threatened… lobbyists worked hard behind the scenes to get their way.

While whale watching interests and others will tell you that new law proposals are too broad and unenforceable with no money being committed for enforcement… is this really any reason to drop the efforts? I believe no, it is time to redouble our efforts. A 650 yard bubble around the Southern Residents will make up-close whale watching illegal for now, but maybe… just maybe there will be whales to watch in the future. The humans on Lopez are finally looking forward. What a positive concept!

The “unenforceable” issue always comes up when the public votes for change. It came up when states attempted to outlaw smoking in businesses and even on beaches in California. These laws were deemed unenforceable by law enforcement organizations everywhere. Was this a reason to not have the laws? As it turned out smoking stopped without storm troopers or extra cops. Smoking stopped because the public agreed that eating in smoke polluted restaurants, and drinking in smoke filled bars was something we could all do without.  Peer pressure did the rest. We, the public, can and will enforce regulations by the very fact that they are right. Protecting these whales is simply the right thing to do, and we can do it.

We at gaianetwork.net are presently working with individuals and groups toward “peer” enforcement to end whale harassment. Of course although common sense and much science proves engine noise affects orca communication and inhibits their abilities to live, forage, and reproduce, there are those demanding we all continue to swim against the stream. We, as humans, have the right to exploit nature for education and, of course money… enough said. I disagree.

.We do not propose exemptions for film or even research. There is plenty of “up-close and personal” films and thousands of photos for sale, do we need more? How much more research is really necessary? Yesterday I was accused of harassing whale watchers with drones, and driving around drinking wine and harassing the whale watchers at high speed. THIS WAS NOT US!

We are presently working on a shore based operation called NEIGHBORHOOD ORCA WATCH (N.O.W.) with shore based cameras watching the orca’s feeding areas.  We will not become part of the problem to feather our own nest. Once set up, I am sure there will be criticism no doubt, but we will continue to test our concept and hope to get others to help. By just watching and allowing others to watch through LIVE STREAMING, it is my belief that peer pressure will allow the orcas to survive. It is not the solution, but it is a start. Victoria is finally working at cleaning up their act and treating their sewage with a proposed sewage treatment plant. Maybe we can stop consuming so much plastic, dumping used Prozac and other drugs down the drain, and thinking about what pesticides and poisons we use on our properties. Maybe we can limit our take of chinook salmon both commercially and individually and allow the species to come back. I know dams are an issue, as are other abuses, but all of the above are a start. As Buddha said: all great journeys begin with one step. NOW IS THE TIME to take these baby steps no matter what nay-sayers profess. Locally one must only look at the jet ski ban.

We will all change when the orcas are gone as good reactionary humans, but we need to take proactive measures now. Let’s decide to all stop blaming others and take the little steps we can to make a difference. This is how change begins and how change is sustained.

We will continue to try to keep positive and invite all others to join us. The whale watch industry did not go broke the months the Southern Residents were “missing”. This in a way proves they don’t need to “watch” the Southern Residents, no one does. Take a walk at Lime Kiln park and view  the whales from shore. Instead of being driven to view from high speed boats, take a leisurely walk and view nature as it is meant to be viewed. If you want to get close, watch one of the many films that exist. There is beautiful footage available. Watch it and let the “real” animals survive while they still have a chance. In the end when the orcas are gone, it is this film archive that will be all future generations have. I , for one, do not want this extinction on my watch. Film is not nature…not even close.

Think about our footprint on this planet and we will all be better off for it. Be a part of the solution.

Peter Brown www.gaianetwork.net

Happy Birthday America: ”let’s hope we become wiser…”

As I sit here on the aft deck of the gaianetwork trawler: Wii Seeks, I can watch fireworks from all directions, but it doesn’t take long before I begin to question it all. There we were, blasting sonic booms and showering the local waters with carbon debris, and me enjoying the show immensely. I sat there wondering at my fascination. BUT after my ears were violated, and blast waves began hitting my body, I went for ear plugs, and a heavier coat. After I returned,  I sat and began to wonder about the whales and other wild life.

Do foxes look to the heavens and enjoy the show while explaining to their kids that not all explosions kill you? In Disney’s latest hit, maybe, but in reality no way. House pets run for the hills… if I recall.

Once again, with my butt planted back on the deck bundled in a heavier coat and ear plugs, I had to wonder about the whales.

Now you have to be Neanderthal to not know the whales are highly auditory. Everything they do involves sounds… intricate sounds, some imperceptible to us highly advanced humans. Until recently they were able to communicate across great swathes of ocean. Much like city lights make “star gazing” impossible, and sitting next to a highway makes “listening to nature” futile, the whales can’t talk, hunt, or procreate in marine chaos. Like it or not, we are that chaos.

I’d like to just figure that fireworks are fleeting and cool. They are a great family event that I have in my life often looked back at with love. But birthday’s like the 4thare times for reflection. Maybe we as a species can change, and all be better off for it? Maybe, just maybe we will learn that greed for money does not bring happiness now or in the future? It just eats things up. Like it or not we only have one earth and no place to go when we wear it out. We need to start thinking conservation, not think of new and better ways to use things up.

I was viewing the local parade, and met a new friend I have made here. He is very political and anti-Trump, but that is not important here… What he said after watching the festivities was:      ” your tribe is heavily represented…” meaning of course, orca lovers. I agreed. Everyone wants to do something, and it is good knowing that locals are doing so many positive things in so many different ways. They are doing important things today, and I was invited here to help out.

Friday Harbor is no different than where I grew up on Cape Cod. I learned quickly that everyone blames someone else. I didn’t have to be a scientist to realize quite quickly that the whales are being exploited by all parties concerned, one way or the other. No blame, fact.

If you don’t know it already, the Southern resident Orcas are missing, and after 60 days of absence, maybe, god forbid, the SOUTHERN RESIDENTS are gone for good? Has business ceased or whale watching operations gone broke?  Is it the end? Questions each one of us can answer.

I would like to believe otherwise, but maybe if one believes as I do that all nature is connected in a biological and spiritual way, maybe these creatures are actually telling us something? Like communicating to us… Maybe it is a warning we should all heed. I’m just saying…..

It is time for change here. Let the public vote on local orca restrictions. It worked for jet skis. I know I am old fashion, but jet skis have no place in nature, just as dune buggies shouldn’t be squashing tortoises in the desert.  We, Americans are one year older. Let’s get smarter.

First let’s hope the Southern Residents return for San Juan’s sake; I just hope they have found a more peaceful place to live.  Whether you see them again or not, I hope this “scare”will wake us all up.

Working with anyone who will have us, we at www.gaianetwork.netare continuing or effort to set up what we are calling NEIGHBORHOOD ORCA WATCH. Our initial tests have been positive and a recent volunteer from UC Santa Cruz has been sorting through IT issues. Other local orca groups have voiced their support and I feel this is a way to help all concerns citizens, whales and humans.  We’re just watching, and you can watch too; we plan to stream LIVE and in LIVING COLOR!

N.O.W. will be operated locally and will be an inclusive and not an exclusive operation when finally functional. All are welcome.

 We will be testing and lining up volunteers over the next month hoping to launch phase one in August.

All donations of cash, time, or professional help will be accepted at www.gaianetwork.net

Thank you

Peter Brown

Why is myth so easy to believe… when truth might set you free?

We have reached a level of success in our orca protection 2019 campaignand are actually in a position to help the Southern Resident orca whales. Much has changed because the situation is happening “now,” and change is continually expected. I have learned to accept change and keep moving on. We, on the Wii Seeks are keeping our eyes on the prize. The orcas, remember them?

Things are happening, real and good things. Some of the bad reactions come from fear, often motivated by: “Change is impossible.”To us, however, those tough solutions just take a bit longer…  BUT we CAN overcome.

Everyone wants to save these beautiful creatures, but no matter what they profess, few will really put them first. Being a human, I know this is a human trait. But, first of all, we can make real change happen for the orca whales by obeying the laws that exist. This would be a good start. What a concept! After that we can move on with “new perceptions” and beliefs in the power of working together. It is time for us to solve this painful puzzle of pending SRKW extinction—one piece at a time.

The myth easiest for us to believe is: It is someone else’s fault. This might be true in some cases, but it would be much more useful to the orca Southern Resident orcas if “we” collectively tried to help solve the problem rather than believe this myth about “someone else”, and bitch.

Another myth is: Nothing will change. This is easy enough to believe; but there is something to be said about nourishing one’s soul and fighting the good fight. Then, as we pass on, we can look our grandchildren straight in the eye and revert to myth # 1: “Don’t blame me, I did all I could.” At least we can pass over to wherever our beliefs allow, with a smile on our spirit face. If you’re a Hindu, maybe get a higher step on that ladder to re-incarnation. For me, I’ll go back to the earth from whom I came, hoping that I have played a small part in healing some of the destruction my generation has administered.

So, now might I suggest that it is a good time to give co-operation a try? How can it hurt? Maybe we’ll help bust the “nothing will change” myth and our neighbor orcas might survive. We can then “blame” ourselves and our real love for their future.

The fourth and biggest myth is the easiest to slough off. What can I do?Well, let me tell you that you can do a lot. Hell, you can start a movement if you believe in the mission, and don’t believe the above myths.

Please go to www.gaianetwork.netand donate your experience, ideas, technical expertise, and any money you can afford to allow us to cover our expenses and get these whales protected. We are actually here in their home territory, on site. What a concept!

Thank you

Peter Jay Brown

 

 

 

Why do we humans miss the elephant for fear of the mouse?

peter OPR

My business as I get older, probably because I have drunk the eco-koolade, is nature. I have spent 40+ years fighting governments, industry, and individuals to keep as much nature alive as I can. Oh yes, I could have easily been rolled over by ego-corporations and been paid for what I do, but it feels somewhat more righteous to work as a volunteer because the job is simply the right thing to do. I am lucky after these many years that I can live frugally and can give my time. It is important to leave this earth better then when we all arrived, and the time is now for all of us to get off our couches and help.

I am presently stationed in Friday Harbor, the headquarters of Northwest whale watching one can safely say. Now, I come from a smaller town with fewer people then here, so I get the fact that that personal animosities go deep. I have already learned that half of the town hates the other half and some feuds go back years.  Cape Cod was like that and Nantucket did more to destroy all whales than anywhere else, so my guilt runs deep. Well, now it is my mission to convince the locals here to give up past grievances for the sake of the orcas. Friday Harbor now titters on going down in history for losing yet another species of whale. I cannot let that happen by blaming others or simply looking the other way.

I do not live in Washington and I am certainly an interloper, but in this issue, I consider myself a representative of the whales. I am a citizen of this planet and have the right to speak out. May I suggest that no matter how much fun I can imagine it would be to look into your bedroom window and watch you make love, or to blast KISS on my stereo while looking into your kitchen window and watching you have dinner, I am quite sure you would not be amused. I don’t need to be a biologist to guess– the whales don’t like it either. Think about it.

What if a local entrepreneur started running Peeping Tom, and Rave party buses to your house? Would you worry about shutting down their businesses? I think not!

So, I am here to do my best to ask my fellow humans to back-off and allow nature to be. The governor should have included the whale watching moratorium in his orca protection bill, but “business” interests spoke out and he caved. If we want to help these whales, we must make some changes and quit pointing to someone else as the culprit. We are the reason they are suffering… noise, harassment, pollutants, dams, over fishing, raw sewage pumped into their habitat, and plastics all come from us. It’s time for us all to step up, take responsibility and save these poor creatures. I know, I know, there are many reasons they are dying. But I need only to look in the mirror and know the real reason: we have met the enemy and it is us!  What I do not understand is why can we not all support giving these creatures a break?

I heard somewhere that the Southern Residents are only ten percent of the local Whale Watch business. Will your businesses really suffer if you just leave the southern residents alone? It was suggested to me by a friend and fellow activist that Friday Harbor could be in the forefront of real environmental change. Why not run authentic eco-tours without disturbing nature? Why not become a beacon to enlightened nature policies instead of continuing to use the very creatures you all claim to hold so dear? I know this is America and we gotta get aggressive and make money, but if the millennials are as clever as they believe, they will flock to be part of the solution. Maybe a change in perspective will be a huge success? What a concept. Instead of hunting these creatures with high speed boats, secret radios, and “big eyes,” which by the way is illegal under the federal laws that protect endangered species, why don’t we stop the hunting altogether. A hunt is a hunt whether you carry a camera or a gun. If law enforcement paid attention and enforced laws that exist, the jails would be full.

We at www.gaianetwork.netare operating the small trawler, Wii Seeks. We are setting up a live-stream operation that will really keep an eye on what’s going on. This network can be joined by all. Even whale watchers! We will let the public and law enforcement really see in real time what is happening. Maybe then change will happen, forced or otherwise.

Now, I know this is a touchy subject, but I pretty much have a reputation for practical activism and jumping in where others fear to tread. We do campaigns as if we were an acupuncture needle. We are not so arrogant that we believe we can lead a movement, but we can sure as hell get in the fray, and by actually doing things, get the great middle ground to move in positive directions. If history means anything, maybe we can do it here.

I realize most whale-watching companies hopefully pursue these pods thinking they are helping… be it education, science, or sheer enjoyment. I am sure many obey the Marine Mammal Protection laws and try to do right. They are probably just as upset with those lawbreakers who get too close as I am. BUT it’s all about the money and the lawbreakers are getting better tips and recommendations for getting close to the orcas. Others need to compete and quite frankly no one is looking. This summer we will be looking, so there goes that excuse. It is time to stand up and demand respect for the whales. Make tourists understand as I am sure they want nothing to do with whale extinction.  Help us turn in the law breakers and maybe bring some eco-sanity to the 75+ research permits. Do we really need 75? Can’t scientists co-operate? I suggest this summer they try.

I always end my controversial discussions with: “There is no whale watching ,tourist industry, or jobs once the whales are gone. No economy whatsoever on a dead planet.” You can’t walk five feet on Spring Street without being reminded of the importance of the orcas to this region. When they are gone, will jelly fish or plastic garage adorn every sign and T-shirt in the town?

We plan to make a stand and will hopefully be live-streaming people’s behavior. A kind of neighborhood watch.  The whales were here long before us and they have as much right here as we do. We must stop abusing them or they will be gone, and Friday harbor will be thought of as the place that lost the orcas. Let’s all give them their legal space and allow them sanctuaries where no boats ever follow like the long suggested no-go boat zones. Believe me, your grandchildren will thank you.

I will do what I can, but I need everyone’s help and suggestions to make this happen. Volunteers are very welcome from all walks of life– mechanics, writers, internet geeks, captains and crew. We all have talents and can contribute. Do what you are good at for the whales, we will all be better off for it.

I want to congratulate the Lopez group for their San Juan County Initiative. I hope all who can vote in this county sign their petition. Why not put it to a vote? This is America after all, let the majority decide in the privacy of the voting booth. I believe the public will support the whales.

We can exploit the whales; or we can allow them to exist as we would hope our neighbors would allow us… life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If you want to help us, you can volunteer or donate money to cover our expenses at: www.gaianetwork.net. Thank you

Peter Jay Brown  www.gaianetwork.net

“I’m just saying…”

As we at http://www.gaianetwork.net continue prepping the Wii Seeks for a summer helping local San Juan Island groups, and Orca Protection & Rescueto give the Southern Resident Orcas some peace. Our efforts hope to give this endangered species relief from vessel harassment so that they might live, feed, and reproduce. The Southern Residents eat salmon exclusively. The reduction of size and numbers of salmon due to a number of reasons have placed these creatures on the endangered list. Humans are now loving them to death…

Presently in the San Juan’s there seem to be a number of NGO’s and individuals who are concerned about the orcas. Numerous campaigns exist today to raise funds to “save the orcas”. Some are great, and some have issues from my point of view… but they are here none the less. The question is: are they having any success? The governor’s task force recommended a moratorium on whale watching, but locals concerned more with money then the oceans lobbied the moratorium out. I do have great hopes for some individuals who recently came together on Lopez Island, not for the fact they are paid by NGOs, but for the fact they care.

Orcas were here way before we humans arrived. Have we been good neighbors?  I don’t think so, but we are certainly cashing in. You can’t go any place in Friday Harbor without seeing an orca represented. They are everywhere and people come from around the world to see them.  Local businesses believe that they keep the local economy afloat… I get it.

I have been living here on the boat for a month plus and cannot escape the conclusion that there are too many so called whale lovers, too busy fighting each other over egos, while a mere few are actually saving the whales. We humans all seem too busy hating one another for past indiscretions,  then concentrating on the task at hand. It’s the whales stupid!

Among other things, I have come to question what I understand to be the 70+ research permits issued to study these animals. I mean, do we really need so many permits? Can’t groups get together and share information? Co-operation, what a concept!

It is a fairly well known fact that whales are affected by noise. Military exercises often lead to the stranding and death of whales around the world. Underwater explosions, sonar, and experiments with low frequency communications have wreaked havoc in marine mammal populations worldwide. These are known facts that many choose to ignore.

I realize that modern humans, although we pretend to be noble and magnanimous are really selfish apes. We will talk a good game, but almost always revert to watching out for number one… especially when it comes to money. America is built on money, capitalism, and exploiting the wilderness. We grew into the society that was built by butchering native cultures, and exploiting the land. Be it oil, minerals, water; it was there for us to exploit, and we did, BIG TIME!

Well it is time to wake up. Natural resources are running out. Cheap oil and cheap food, although processed beyond recognition are out of control. President Trump has loosened up regulations for even more exploitation to feed “the economy” so we can all have new cars, fancier homes and more and more technology. Let’s face it, having a job is more important then having a healthy planet. Humans continue to put “good life” ahead of a healthy earth. I often point out that there is no “good life” on a dead planet, but few listen.

The future is up to all of us. We have progressed ourselves to the edge of a cliff… Is progress to continue forward to our death? Or do we turn around 180 degrees and continue forward starting to realize we are merely one of the numerous citizens of this planet. I suggest conservation… I’m just saying. Let’s get together for once as a species and save these whales

CHANGE IS DIFFICULT, BUT NECESSARY

I have been following the work of the Orca Protection & Rescue folks in Friday Harbor from afar as I found myself volunteering to help some old friends from the Gitxsan (www.gitxsan.ca) communicate through the internet… like I know? Anyway, I do have a bit of experience setting up off-the-rail activist Live Streams around the world. So I figured what the hell.

Now I am sure that few of you know the First Nations Gitxsan. If you are Americans, surely not but in my life experience they have always showed up in my life to help with what many believed were “against all odds” adventures. Now I have a liking for that attitude myself, so back in 1991 when they decided to capture a Spanish replica Columbus ships on the way to the USA to celebrate 500 years of discovery, I was all in. Fortunately for them,  I was a heavy breather at Sea Shepherd way back then, and Watson was a want-be-Indian for some reason so the SEA SPEPHERD II was their ship of choice. They leased the ship for one dollar to carry out their plans. Now why a bunch of forest natives want to go on a couple week cruise in rough waters is beyond me, and you can image the fun… Robert Hunter wrote about some of it in his book RED BLOOD for the historical record…

I had a ball,  but my friends did not fare so well at sea. My only comment is that if I got sea sick just once, I’d be saving trees… It appears to be miserable although I have my theories, but that is a story for another day. At the time I didn’t get to know many of the activists, but I did get to know Gordon Sebastian, Art Loring, and Ralph Michele. Ralph’s nickname was tiger, and Gordon was a lawyer… enough said. Art was just a man with a mission. I was taking their orders after all so I always welcomed their presence on the bridge. Other then driving the boat, a bridge is usually hours of boredom punctuated by moments of share terror, so you talk. Even the kids talk sometimes as their cell phones don’t work. Heaven for me, hell for them.

So I spent hours each day watching as is the job of the bridge crew, and we talked. I asked questions about their families, their culture… you name it. When I heard the atrocities their thousand year old culture had suffered since “whiteman” arrived, and purposely tried to kill them off… a hundred plus years later, it was still happening in 1991. The Canadian government policies were still present then, and still wreaking havoc today. The horrific “Residential Schools” where children were kidnapped from their parents to destroy their language and culture weren’t closed until the 90s. That  this was happening in 1991 outraged me. You see I come from Cape Cod where the famous Turkey eating Pilgrims celebrated with, and then wiped out the very natives who sustained them in their first year.  My town was proud of their ancestors… me, not so much. I don’t think I have white guilt, but none the less in 1991 I said if they ever needed my help, to ask. This last winter they asked. I’m retired and had the time so I went… It was a very successful start.

Most people who follow me know that I am sort upset with open-pen salmon farms. I have travelled the world and witnessed firsthand how their introduction has led to death of wild stock, cultures, eco-systems… you name it. Oh, the INDUSTRY will give their side. It’s opinion by “biostitutes” . I’ve seen it first hand.  The fact is: farmed salmon is carp for the wild oceans and shitty food in my opinion. I feel it is healthier to eat the plastic it is wrapped in. If you are going to eat salmon, and I do, then make sure it is wild. Farmed salmon will cause the extinction of a species… maybe many species as nature is intimately connected on so many levels. It is not the panacea it has been to sold to us as. There is nothing healthy , glamorous, or green about it.  Really; look it up.

Anyhow back to the subject at hand as I have digressed. In 1991 a Gitxsan gentleman by the name of Art Loring walked on board the replica Columbus ships in Puerto Rico and claimed them for the Gitxsan, Wet’suwet’enpeople much as the Spanish Seafarers had done to them 500 years earlier. As crazy as it sounds, it worked as the Spanish noticed and signed an apology…  major celebrations were cancelled.

This seminal event by the Gitxsan changed history. We ,my tribe, started thinking about the million slaughtered natives this “discovery” began. We colonialists wishfully learned from that experience, but I’m not sure. As I head to make a similar stand for orca protection, I’ll think about Art Loring and the present Gitxsan Hereditary Sim’oogit in their struggle. We at http://www.gaianetwork.net side with the whales, the salmon, and ourselves. The Gitxsan are with us presently securing their fish tenure on the Skeena River in their territories. I support their efforts. Maybe, just maybe my tribe ( K’amksiwaa ) will listen and realize these people not only have territorial and constitutional rights… it’s their land, their river, their fish, their moose ,and their mountains. Why is it so hard for people like me to understand trespass? Why the arrogance? I always ask my friends if they’d be cool with Gitxsan trapping in their back yards? And if they thought that ok, wouldn’t it more civilized if the property owner was at least asked? I think most of us learned the answer in kindergarten. Hell yes!

Well the Gitxsan have closed the Skeena River as it flows through their territory and they have pronounced it off limits to recreational fishing. Maybe you haven’t heard? It doesn’t surprise me as I don’t think the Feds or Provincial hotshots believe them. Well I, as an outside observer of Gitxsan culture, would advise the government to pay attention. I believe in the Hereditary Chiefs’ closure, and I believe they will do it. It seems to me the government better start putting their money where their mouth is. The Trudeau government is preaching reconciliation. Time for them to put up or shut up too. And while you are at it Mr. Trudeau, can you shut down the salmon farms, clean up the tar sands, and start paying attention to First Nations elders who have kept their conservation and cultural morality for thousands of years. Maybe it is time for all of us to stand up for the future. Get your noises out of your phones, your asses off the couch, and practice a bit of your inner “wild”. The bears need your help, the salmon need your help, and the orcas need your help. Save them all and we save ourselves. Think of that when you hug your grand kids or send your own children off into the world. Change is difficult, but I have found it worth everything. The time is NOW for all of us.